August 22, 2014

Forget the tan, it’s actually time for fall festivals in Modesto area

Here’s a rundown of the bigger fall festivals coming up in the Valley and Mother Lode.

I didn’t want to be the one to have to tell you this, but summer ends next weekend.

Unofficially, of course. But if you follow the pathways of national holidays, you have a week to finish your summer books, family excursions, that golden tan and the wearing of white.

Well, most fashionistas will tell you that whole no-wearing-white-past-Labor-Day thing is an outdated idea. In the Valley, where the heat follows the calendar right into October most years, white attire is even more de rigueur.

But there’s no getting around the fact that fall, while not in the air, is definitely about to be in the festivals, starting Sunday.

You read that right: Sunday – as in tomorrow. The autumn celebrations gear up by mid-September and rumble right through October.

Following is a rundown of the bigger festivals coming up in the Valley and Mother Lode. The first four can be considered summer affairs, but it’s all about fall after that.

Sierra View Music Festival – Saturday: This sixth annual fundraising event will feature music by John Waite, the Marshall Tucker Band and April Wine. Food and drink vendors will be on hand. The concert is held each year in remembrance of musician Heidi Brunk and raises funds for the Heidi Brunk Foundation and Music Scholarship. Gates open at 1 p.m., music starts at 1:30. Tickets are $40, with VIP options available. JH Ranch, 12713 Sierra View Road, Oakdale. (209) 247-6069 or see

X-Fest 2014 – Saturday: This huge outdoor music event annually shuts down the streets of downtown Modesto for several stages of music. Performers this year include Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, E40, Dave Mason, Dev, Moonshine Bandits, DJ-dance troupe the Dancetronauts, several local artists and more. The 21-and-older event begins at 5 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance, $30 for an express entrance pass, $200 VIP access. At the gate, tickets will be $30. For more, see

Smoke On The River – Saturday: A barbecue competition combines with a music festival sponsored by Ceres Chamber of Commerce. Live music will be performed by Remedy, Black Rose Band and Big Earl & the Cryin’ Shame. Contestants will compete in the Barbecue Challenge. Tickets are $10 advance, $15 at the gate. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuolumne River Lodge, 2429 River Road, Modesto. (209) 537-6651 or

Gold And Outdoor Festival – Saturday and Sunday: Features gold panning, equipment demonstrations, prospecting seminars and more. A claim jumper detecting hunt for all ages will feature $3,000 in buried treasure and other prizes. Sponsored by the Gold Prospectors Association of America, the events runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds, 220 Southgate Drive, Sonora. $5 adults; children 10 and younger free.

Newman Fall Festival – Sunday through Sept. 1: This annual weeklong festival celebrates Newman heritage. Features kids’ games; live entertainment; food and craft vendors; a Soroptimist Fall Fashion Show; “An Evening Under the Stars” wine and cheese event; a community parade through downtown Newman; horseshoe, softball and volleyball tournaments; BMX bike races; and more. Pioneer Park, 1250 Tulare St., Newman. (209) 451-2815.

Film Fest Twain Harte – Aug. 29-Sept. 1: Westerns is the theme this year at the annual Labor Day film festival, which will feature full-length, short, documentary and student films from around the world. Special events include a Friday VIP reception and Sunday awards dinner, Saturday night Spaghetti Western Feed and student workshops. Various locations in Twain Harte. $10-$70, $120 all-access total package. (209) 586-6301.

Color The Skies Hot Air Balloon And Kite Festival – Aug. 30-31: Last year’s festival was changed to a kite show only because of construction at the Mistlin Sports Park. This year, the tethered balloon rides return. The festival runs 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, with balloon rides beginning at 7:30 a.m. (depending on the weather). The 5K and 10K runs begin at 8 a.m. and the children’s fun runs begin at 9:30 a.m. There also will be entertainment, kite shows, train rides, food and more. Free. Mistlin Sports Park, Ripon.

Cedar Center Arts & Crafts Festival – Aug. 30-31: Features fine arts and crafts, live music by Home Grown and jugglers, local beers and kids activities. Pancake breakfast both days, 7:30 to 11 a.m. $6. Festival 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cedar Center, 1225 Oak Circle, Arnold. Free.

Edible Extravaganza – Sept. 4: Sample gourmet cuisine and beverages while listening to live music on two stages at Modesto Centre Plaza, 10th and K streets. 6 p.m. Benefits the Center for Human Services. $40 in advance, $50 at the door. (209) 526-1476.

Admission Day Parade And Celebration – Sept. 6: Parade, demonstrations, town tours, barbecue lunch available to purchase, live music and cemetery tours. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Columbia State Historic Park, Main and State streets, Columbia. Free. (209) 588-9128.

Festival Del Nopal – Sept. 7: Celebration of cactus, featuring cooking contest, cactus tasting, live entertainment, bounce houses, car show, drawings, food vendors, arts and crafts and more. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ceres Flea Market/Drive-In, 1651 E. Whitmore Ave. Free. (209) 579-4776 or

Denair Farm And Family Festival – Sept. 13: More than 100 food and craft vendors, as well as information booths, live entertainment, classic-car show, motorcycle show, antique farm equipment and more. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Downtown Denair.

Modesto International Architecture Festival – Sept. 13-21: Nine days of more than 100 events that include tours, exhibits, international movies, bike rides, workshops, speakers, installations, kids activities and special events. Films will be screened at the State Theatre and Modesto Architecture Festival Center, 1009 J St., Modesto, and at the Carnegie Arts Center in Turlock.

Assyrian Food Festival – Sept. 13-14: Authentic dinner, homemade pastries, Assyrian tea house, cultural display, folk music and dancing. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Assyrian Cultural Center, 3119 S. Central Ave., Ceres. $14 in advance, $17 at the door. (209) 480-9293.

49er Festival, Chili & Salsa Cook-Off – Sept. 20: Kids activities, parade, live entertainment, auctions, chili and salsa tastings and more. Also, annual chili cook-off competition. Breakfast at 7 a.m.; festival closes at 5 p.m. Downtown Groveland.

Mesopotamian Food Festival – Sept. 20-21: Details to be announced. 2 to 9 p.m. Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. St. Matthew Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church, 3005 Sixth St., Ceres. (209) 541-1660.

Greek Food Festival – Sept. 20-21 Greek dinner, homemade pastries, church tours, agora (marketplace), live entertainment. Noon to 9 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 313 Tokay Ave., Modesto. $14 advance, $17 at the door; age 12 and younger $8.50. (209) 522-7694.

Hughson Harvest Festival – Sept. 20-21: Chili cook-off, vendors, food, arts and crafts, farmers market, carnival games, petting zoo, pony rides. There will be alumni baseball and football games, a street dance, a car show, farm equipment on display and a reptile exhibit and show. Sunday includes Walk for Love. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Free.

Mofest!8 – Sept. 26: Film festival presented by PFLAG explores the lives and challenges of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through multiple films and genres. 7:30 p.m. Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto. $15. (209) 338-2100,

Coyotefest – Sept. 27: Event features a parade, wild West “shootouts,” car show, live music, horseshoe and coyote howling contests. 10 a.m. Main Street, Coulterville. Free. (209) 878-3015.

Unite Fest – Sept. 28: Family festival with vendors, live music, kids corner and refreshments presented by Star of David Ministries. 3 to 7 p.m. City Hall Quad, 1010 10th St., Modesto.

Modesto Oktoberfest – Oct. 3: Beer and wine tasting, German food, live entertainment and a midway. John Thurman Field, 601 Neece Drive, Modesto. 5:30 to 10 p.m. $25 in advance, $30 at the door. (209) 571-6480 or

Calaveras Grape Stomp & Gold Rush Street Faire – Oct. 4: Celebrate the harvest and wine industry of Calaveras County by stomping grapes or watching others do so. Gold Rush Street Faire has vendors, arts and crafts, antiques, collectibles and food. 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Murphys Park.

International Heritage Festival – Oct. 4: Family event showcases the many cultures of the area through music and dance, with special activities for kids, cultural booths, food booths and more. Modesto Junior College East Campus. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free.

Harvest Festifall – Oct. 11-12: Nearly 50 vendors dressed in 1850s attire display handmade arts and crafts for sale, including pottery, jewelry, apparel, home decor, wood furniture, baked goods. Demonstrations of spinning and weaving by the Mother Lode Weavers & Spinners, face painting, a petting zoo and live entertainment. Columbia State Historic Park. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (209) 536-1672 or

Riverbank Cheese & Wine Exposition – Oct. 11-12: The city of Riverbank presents this long-standing festival with multiple two-hour wine tasting sessions each day. Also, beer tasting, arts and crafts vendors, musical entertainment and cheese tasting. Sante Fe and Third streets, downtown Riverbank. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Free for expo; tastings $20 advance, $30 at the door.

Modesto Women’s Expo – Oct. 17: Event focuses on topics and interests that are all about being a woman. Speakers include Shari Fitzpatrick, creator of Shari’s Berries, and Joan Rosenberg, creator of Emotional Mastery. Local speakers also are scheduled, along with exhibits, beauty and health services, demonstrations, fashion shows and more. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Modesto Centre Plaza, 1000 L St. $15.

Harvest Festival – Oct. 18: Pumpkin patch, pumpkin decorating contest, pumpkin carving, kettle corn, live local music, food, craft fair, pie-eating contest, chef demos, classic-car show. 10th Street, downtown Modesto. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free. (209) 529-9303.

Northern California Women’s Music Festival – Oct. 18: A celebration of women in music, art, literature, poetry and business. The lineup will include local vendors, musicians, artists and poets. 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. Prospect Theater Project, 1214 K St., Modesto. $10.

All Hallows Fantasy Faire – Oct. 25-26: Celtic-inspired Halloween celebration with pirates, Vikings, jugglers, magicians, fire eaters and more. A fantasy world will be created for the event, with costumed characters, live entertainment, food, vendors. Noon to midnight Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Mother Lode Fairgrounds, 220 Southgate Drive, Sonora. $12 adults advance, $15-$16 at the gate; $5 children ages 6-12; free for age 5 and younger. A weekend camping and entry pass is $50.

Bloomingcamp Ranch Oktoberfest – Oct. 18-19: Family event includes handmade crafts, barbecue food, games for kids, petting zoo, wagon rides and more. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. 10528 E. Highway 120, Oakdale. (209) 848-0461.

Oakdale Climbers Festival – Oct. 17-19: The history of climbing told by climbers, featuring films, authors, artists and more. Prices to be announced. 6 to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Oakdale Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave., Oakdale.

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